Let’s hear it for the joy and happiness that is a gin and tonic!
1. It’s World Gin Day on 10th June 2016, a day to get together and celebrate the joys of our favourite tipple!
2. Though there’s nothing more English than a G&T, it originally comes from Holland. We came across it while fighting the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century. The Dutch soldiers were drinking ‘Jenever’, a medicinal drink to boost morale before heading into battle. That’s where the term ‘Dutch Courage’ comes from.
3. Gin should never be drunk on it’s own. It’s made to be mixed with tonic, or into fancier cocktails such as Tom Collins, Negroni, Gimlet – and of course the Martini. In fact, there are more gin-based cocktails than any other spirit.
4. A martini consists of gin, dry vermouth and optional bitters. James Bond made it the must-have cocktail, though he favoured vodka martinis, shaken not stirred of course!
5. Back in the day, the Royal Navy gave their men gin mixed with lime cordial to stop scurvy (hence the term for Brits as limey’s).
6. In Victorian times, quinine was given to troops in India as an anti-malarial medicine. Despite being made into a tonic water it still tasted vile so, to mask the flavour, soldiers added a tot of gin – and the G&T was born.
7. Gin is more or less juniper-flavoured vodka, though some have lots of other flavourings too, including cucumber, rose, lemongrass and even pepper.
8. It’s popular. A whopping 60 million cases of gin are sold every year – and half of that is knocked back in the Philippines. They drink 22 million cases of Ginebra San Miguel, a drink more or less unknown in the rest of the world.
9. Early Australian settlers paid for their imported Gordon’s London Dry Gin in gold dust.
10. Gin doesn’t make you depressed! Well, no more than any other sort of spirit.
11. The minimum alcoholic strength by volume of gin is 37.5%…but many are a lot higher!
12. The Queen Mother loved her pre-lunch glass of gin and Dubonnet.
13. Frank Sinatra liked gin. And if it was good enough for Ol’ Blue Eyes, well..
14. At the other end of scale, at the recent International Spirits Challenge, Asda’s London Dry Gin (£11.22 /70cl) and Waitrose London Dry Gin (£12/70cl) both came out on top with gold awards, while Aldi’s London Dry Gin, at a mere £9.99 for 70cl, won a silver award. Why pay more?
15. Gin with a slice – but why is it lime, not lemon? It used to be lemon, until Gordon’s were putting together a marketing campaign and thought the yellow lemon clashed with its green bottle.
16. At around £450 for a 750ml bottle, the world’s most expensive gin is Notlet’s Reserve. This 52.3% alcohol gin is 104.6 proof.